Creating Imagery with Dogteam by Gary Paulsen

Looking for winter mentor text lessons? This post features the book, Dogteam by favorite author, Gary Paulsen. You can use it for teaching imagery and visualization. Stop by for this lesson and many others.
There are some authors that just have a way with language. Agree? I have my favorites for sure...Owl Moon, In November, and All the Places to Love are just a few. In the book I'm featuring with this post, Gary Paulsen is in the spotlight. This book is not his typical. In fact, it's one of a very few picture books he's written, but I love it for the imagery it creates for me. I truly feel like I'm riding with him on the dogsled, and if you read it aloud, your students will too.
Looking for winter mentor text lessons? This post features the book, Dogteam by favorite author, Gary Paulsen. You can use it for teaching imagery and visualization. Stop by for this lesson and many others.
Several years ago, I got the opportunity to hear Gary Paulsen speak at the Virginia State Reading Association conference. Gary Paulsen, for a long, long time, was an author I admired and just had to meet. The experience of hearing his story and actually meeting him will forever be a time I treasure. He is a no frills guy who calls it as he sees it. He was just plain real, and what I love best about him is that his books have inspired so many boys in particular to love reading. His vivid descriptions help the reader transport themselves into the lives of Brian, Mr. Tucket, and his many other characters.

Most of Gary's books are chapter books, but that year, I was lucky enough to find two picture books for my classroom library, The Tortilla Factory and DogteamDogteam quickly became a mentor text for imagery and figurative language in my classroom, and if you have thoughts of using Dogsong or Woodsong, I would highly recommend introducing the topic of sled dogs by sharing this book and perhaps My Life in Dog Years, a unique autobiography.
The setting of this book is Alaska during the winter, and the narrator in the story training his dogteam for a race. He describes taking the dogteam out for a night run, and the description in the book is so poetic.  Here are a few quotes from the text. I expect you'll agree (after you zoom in on them...sorry!)
I like to begin every mentor text lesson with a schema builder that generates conversation between my students or that builds background for topics that my students may or may not be familiar with. With this text, the teacher might enjoy showing a clip about the Iditarod like this one from Youtube.

To help organize the information students learn through this video, I prepared this organizer. Students can work in teams to research and discuss what they find out.

Looking for winter mentor text lessons? This post features the book, Dogteam by favorite author, Gary Paulsen. You can use it for teaching imagery and visualization. Stop by for this lesson and many others.Once students are "warmed up and ready" for the race, it is time to share the book. With this book, I created two pages, an anchor chart for interactive notebooks and a response page. I selected quotes from the text and asked students to describe their thinking.  These questions could be used to guide thinking.
  • Which words jump out? (record them for discussion after) 
  • Find examples of figurative language (metaphor, simile, repetition, alliteration)
  • What do you picture?
  • How would you feel?. 
Students record their thinking on the right side of the column notes during discussion. Then, once the book examples have been discussed, the teacher can refer back to the word list and talk about how sensory words lead to imagery and sort them by sense.

As a follow up to this lesson (bonus materials), I included a writing option. With this assignment, students complete a RAFT paper. RAFT stands for:
Role
Audience
Format
Topic

Students will be a musher in the Iditarod. They will be writing for the people interested in coming to the race to tell them what it is like to be a racer running the dogs.

Now that you've learned how this lesson works, it's time to download your copy. To access this file, just click the product cover below. This product will be free November 27th through December 4th. After that time, it will return to the $2.50 in my store. 

Looking for winter mentor text lessons? This post features the book, Dogteam by favorite author, Gary Paulsen. You can use it for teaching imagery and visualization. Stop by for this lesson and many others.


If you are looking for other winter mentor text lessons or winter resources, I began this board last year as part of Thematic Thursday. I continue to pin my favorite winter ideas to it now, and there may be a few ideas you'd like too


You can certainly come back to this post later if you want to pin the image below.
Pin for Later:

For other mentor text lessons this winter, check out these below.


13 comments

  1. That's so exciting that you go to meet Gary! I've never read Dogsled before, but I am excited to get my hands on a copy and use your freebie with my class! Thank you for organizing such a great blog hop!

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    1. Your post is amazing Marissa, and it takes all of us to make it great. Love each and every post!

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  2. Wow- this will be a great mentor text for the winter. Thank you for this awesome resource!

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  3. I have never read Dogsled but I will definitely be adding it to my plans this winter! Thanks for sharing such a great book and a fabulous resource to go along with it!

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  4. I LOVE when our fifth grade does an Iditarod unit! Going to Alaska and seeing the sled dogs is on my bucket list! Thank you for hosting such a fabulous hop. :)

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  5. Thank you, Carla. Always learn from your posts. Thank you again for planning.

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  6. I have never read this book but I know the kids love reading about the Iditarod. I really like the graphic organizer that asks for students to identify sensory words. Thanks for organizing the hop! P.S. Only the link is showing for your rafflecopter now!

    Jessica
    Literacy Spark

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    1. and I do not know why. It was showing earlier and I changed nothing! I think it's something with rafflecopter.

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  7. I am not a big Gary Paulsen fan, but I am going to look for this book the next time I am at the book store. The language he uses is fantastic! Great post!

    Jana
    Thinking Out Loud

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  8. Thanks so much, Carla! Really appreciate your thoughtful post and excellent resource. Will check into this book. I too love using video to get kids' juices really flowing--great idea to include an easy link here. We often use google images, too, sometimes looking at photos and diagrams to generate questions before study. Really heightens students' motivation! Best to you!

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  9. Carla, I love this! I can't wait to try it out with my class! Thanks you!

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  10. Love the Iditarod and have never read this book before. Thanks so much for the freebie. Can't wait to check out the book.

    ilive2learnilove2grow 

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  11. This looks like a great book - thank you for sharing! I love the lesson too!
    Jenn

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